5. Big new pay equity deal

David Clark has announced a $173.5 million pay equity settlement. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

A pay equity settlement worth $173.5 million has been reached with mental health and addiction support workers. Thomas Coughlan reports.

The Government will amend the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act to include mental health and addiction support workers and ensure they receive the same rate of pay as other care workers.

That piece of legislation followed the historic battle of Kristine Bartlett, an aged-care worker who argued that she was underpaid because she worked in a mainly female industry. That particular settlement affected 55,000 workers and cost the Government $2 billion.

The current Government has committed to pursuing pay-equity settlements and some funding had already been appropriated in the latest Budget, which allocated 2.13 billion for contingencies such as wage rounds.

The settlement is good news for Clark, who is facing down a nurses strike scheduled for July 5 after nurses and midwives rejected a $550 million pay offer from DHBs.